The city of Miami Beach is located in Florida's Miami-Dade County. An island city a little over 7 square miles in size, Miami Beach separates the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from those of Biscayne Bay. The city, always known as a tourist-friendly vacation spot, attracts numerous visitors annually with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and diverse population.
Incorporated in 1915, Miami Beach was formed as a link to the growing community of Greater Miami concurrent with the creation of a bridge across the bay. The Depression era a few years later saw a period of expansion in the city, whose growth was spurred by an influx of small hotels built along what is now known as the Art Deco District, the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world. World War II brought an additional influx of growth with the establishment of major Army and Navy training centers in the area. The takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro in 1959 had major ramifications with the relocation of hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles to the greater Miami area during the ensuing decades. These enterprising refugees had a major influence on the city, helping to define and shape its character and giving the city its present-day distinctiveness and flavor.
Things to See and Do in Miami Beach
Miami Beach has a rich heritage in the trend-setting arts, with its history of world famous nightclubs and present-day cultural life of the modern South Beach area. The city's identity is linked to the arts, with a number of high-quality entertainment, cultural and artistic attractions. The Bass Museum of Art, established in 1963, is the centerpiece of the city's historic district, housing exhibitions from its permanent collection as well as loan exhibitions from national and international collections. The Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, an elegant structure located in the heart of the Art Deco District, hosts a variety of events and attractions throughout the year including Broadway shows, ballet, symphony performances, and contemporary entertainment. The Byron Carlyle Theater, the cultural centerpiece of the north Miami Beach area, is an intimate performing arts venue which hosts a full calendar of theater, dance, music, film lectures and meetings. The recently renovated and restored Art Deco-style Colony Theater is one of South Florida's most popular entertainment venues, hosting a wide variety of programs and events.
One of the most prestigious cultural arts festivals on the East Coast is the Miami Beach Festival of the Arts. Once a local street show, this nationally recognized event has evolved into the city's signature community event for residents and visitors, drawing over 30,000 visitors annually to enjoy the paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, and photographs of hundreds of artists from across the nation. The artwork is juried and generates the awarding of cash prizes at this Ocean Terrace event, which also offers an activity center and open-air band shell with ongoing music.
Sports fans can take in lots of first-rate professional action across the bay in the city of Miami, home to several major league teams. Basketball fans can root for the NBA's Miami Heat and pro football fans can see NFL games hosted by the Miami Dolphins. Major League Baseball fans have the Florida Marlins in town while hockey lovers can see the NHL's Florida Panthers. Thoroughbred racing takes place at two major tracks in the city: Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course.